Team building days: making sure they work towards company goals

By Anne Sexton - Last update

Get Daily news and updates directly to your Email

Team building days have had a resurgence in popularity. Kilian Murphy explores how team building exercises have moved on from endurance programmes.

When the subject of team building arises, you may imagine a paintball session or a rain-sodden obstacle course.

For a long time, a lot of outdoor team building exercises were basically endurance tests. These have fallen into disfavour, and the variety of team building activities has considerably expanded. About time too!

Firstly, there is no great correlation between the capacity survive an exercise bootcamp, and the ability to do your job well. More importantly, not everybody on a team is going to enjoy the same things. And making sure all staff members feel equally engaged is key to a successful team building day.

The importance of fun

James Sexton, of James Sexton Entertainment, argues that a sense of fun is the most important factor in staff excursions.

“The Giant Game and Quiz Show is probably our most popular team building event,” Sexton explains.

“We split the group into different-sized teams and, during a full day or a half day, there are quiz rounds, but there are also giant games. Employees play each other in games like Giant Jenga or Giant Connect 4, and they get points if they win a particular game. People like to have a challenge, and to test their brain, but an aspect of good fun is important as well.”

However, individual staff members will have different definitions of what constitutes fun. There is a danger, when organising team building events, to concentrate on the same activities time and again. This is something that Sexton acknowledges. As a result, his organisation has a wide range of team building exercises. This ensures that they can cater for differing tastes within their workforce.

A range of activities is important, as some staff members can be cynical about team building.

“Initially, I think some people are sceptical,” Sexton admits. “But then they see what we do, and we relax them into it. They enjoy it, and learn valuable things from it.”

Objectives of team building exercises

What is the purpose of a team building day? Is it to aid morale and camaraderie? Should the teamwork involved in an activity be a test model for future office co-operation? The answer is probably a mixture of both, and an organisation planning a team building day should have clearly defined objectives.

There could be a number of goals. It might be to get people working in a more team-oriented approach, or it might be to change the culture of an organisation. Once you know what your objective is, you define a set of activities to meet it.

Fun activities are a hugely important element in team building. However, staff days out represent just a small percentage of the time employees spend together. Therefore, managers must take steps to sustain and nurture the camaraderie built up during such events.

Classroom-based team building

There are a number of classroom-based courses on the subject of team building. The Communications and Management Institute (CMI), for instance, offers one entitled ‘Motivating and Managing Teams’.

CMI believes that the most common obstacle to building an effective team is a lack of understanding of what motivates different types of people. This course helps managers and team members understand each others’ behaviour profiles.

Classroom team building courses, as well as outdoor courses, are increasingly popular. The variety means that companies can use a mixture of outdoor team events and classroom training.

This helps ensure everyone feels involved. Paradoxically, if some members of a team don’t enjoy a certain excursion, they end up feeling more alienated from their colleagues. Variety is the best way to solve this conundrum.

Anne Sexton

Return on investment: Why ROI for training does not matter
Top 10 tips for planning a corporate event


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

We'd love to send you the latest news and articles about evening classes, further learning and adult education by email. We'll always treat your personal details with the utmost care and will never sell them to other companies for marketing purposes.

Comments and Reviews Policy